I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing. . .2 Sam 24:24 (NIV)
Shoppers regardless of culture and country share one thing in common. It is evident in the haggling of the Cairo bazaars to Black Friday lines in the United States. Shoppers since time immemorial have sought one thing – a bargain. TV network TLC features a program called Extreme Couponing highlighting individuals who have taken coupon clipping to another level and in some cases obtaining vast amounts of goods for little or nothing. In recent years, online sites such as Groupon and Living Social have gained popularity offering deals on local goods and services. Even online retailing giant Amazon has taken notice and has come out with its own local coupon service called Amazon Local.
Unfortunately some have brought this discount mentality when it comes to God. Tony Evans puts it this way in his book, Kingdom Man:
Too many of us want God on sale. We want a discount God. Just like the discount stores are more packed than the high-end stores, people want God, but they want him on the cheap. The moment He starts to come at full price, we are not sure we want Him anymore. The moment He starts to actually cost us something, we rethink whether we want Him at all.
To put this into contemporary language, we want a Groupon God. A God that cost less than full price. King David understood this concept and was not looking for God on the cheap. God had commanded David through the prophet Gad to go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2. Sam 24:18). King David approached Araunah to buy the threshing floor from him. Araunah, out of reverence for and perhaps fear of David, offered to give David the threshing floor along with his oxen for the sacrifice and his implements to be used for wood to burn the sacrifice (2. Sam 24:22). David could have taken Araunah property by royal fiat or simply have accepted his offer, but he refused. David was not about to “re-gift” a gift to God. He told Araunah plainly, “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (2. Sam 24:24).
David was the acknowledged writer of many of the Psalms, but the author of the 116th Psalm is unidentified. Regardless if David wrote the Psalm or not, he clearly identifies with the sentiments contained in its 12th verse, how can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? David realized any attempts to repay the Lord for his goodness, mercy and salvation would fall woefully short. David does write in Psalm 51:16, You [the Lord] do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. David realized that out of God’s abundant blessings towards him the best and only thing he could do was to give God himself.
The Apostle Paul picks up on this theme when writes to the Roman church, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1). When the Apostle wrote these words, perhaps he was reflecting on what he penned just a few chapters previously, he [God] who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32).